“Vasilopita”- Orange and Almond New Year’s cake

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One of my most cherished childhood memories is my father cutting the “Vasilopita” in the dining room after new year’s lunch. I remember all the anticipation of who would get the lucky piece of cake, which held the future of my happiness and prosperity for the year to come.

This “magical” cake hides a coin and according to tradition, whoever gets the lucky piece will be blessed with joy and happiness in the new year. Tradition aside, this is an absolutely delicious cake. It’s a tender butter cake flavoured with orange and roasted almonds. I added a pinch of mastic powder in the batter but if you prefer you can bake yours with just the intense flavor of orange. Whether I get the coin or not, I still get to eat a piece of this fantastic cake and that’s lucky enough for me.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs orange zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp mastic tears, crushed with 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs orange juice
  • ¾  cup milk
  • 1 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds
  • 1 clean coin, wrapped in greaseproof paper or foil (butter and flour paper or foil after wrapping. This will prevent the coin from sinking all the way to the bottom of the cake)

Method:

Preheat oven 175oC. Grease base of a round 23 cm (9 inch) spring form pan. Line base with round parchment, grease paper.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, beat butter, sugar and orange zest until white and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add crushed mastic and vanilla.

Sift flour with baking powder, soda and salt. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Add milk and orange juice and mix. Finish with the remaining flour and mix until incorporated. Don’t overmix. Finally add chopped almonds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and level with a spoon or spatula. Put coin by pushing it down slightly with your fingers until it is just under the surface. Bake for about 55 mins to 1 hour, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then release sides of the pan. Invert cake on a plate, remove and discard parchment paper from the base, then invert again on a serving platter. Cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.

Good luck! Have the best new year.

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